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Infrared signals can be either directed (as with a tv remote) or diffused

(like normal sunlight).
Direct Infrared Technology
Direct infrared light needs a clear line of sight to make a connection. The
most familiar direct infrared communication device is the TV remote
control. A connection is made by transmitting data using two different
intensities of infrared light to represent the 1s and 0s. The infrared light is
transmitted in a 30-degree cone giving some flexibility in orientation of
the equipment, but not much. Some disadvantages exist with direct
connections, one of which is range, usually restricted to less then 3 feet.
Also, because it needs a clear line of sight, the equipment must be pointing
towards the general area of the receiver or the connection is lost.
In order to promote the use of direct infrared systems an organization
called the Infrared Data Association (IrDA) has been established. IrDA is
an association of over 130 companies, including IBM, Intel and Motorola,
formed to create interoperable, low cost infrared data interconnection
standards. The first of these standards (IrDA 1.0) supported data rates of
115.2Kbits/s. The newer standard (IrDA 1.1) now supports higher data
rates of 1.15 & 4Mbps. Today most new laptop computers come with
IrDA ports as standard as well as printers and a whole range of network
and access products designed to take advantage of the new technology.
What would appear to be a restrictive wireless technology is actually quite
well suited to wireless LANs. The technology is ideal for creating a peer
to peer network. As most laptops already have IrDA ports, users in a
meeting would simply be able to point their laptops towards each other
and the network would be formed. As far as infrastructure networks go,
access points do exist which allow IrDA equipped laptop computers to
connect directly to the network, although restrictions in range and true
mobility a little difficult. For example, an office that has the access points
always spread around on desks and benches would allow mobile users to
sit down and connect without the inconvenience of having to plug in to the
In order to be useful as a replacement to traditional methods of connecting
to the network, the infrared link would have to perform at 4Mb/s the
IrDA1.1 standard. However, there are many different types to infrared
technology invented from different companies, which makes the infrared
technology a bit difficult to implement into our life. Microsoft is currently
developing its IrDA LAN driver V3.0 that will transmit at 115Kb/s, 1Mb/s
and 4Mb/s. Hopefully that would be the standard for the infrared

technology. Therefore, so far most laptop manufacturers have chosen to

wait for version 3.
So far the infrared industry still considers the direct infrared
technology to be a very useful solution for connecting laptop
computers to the network. Although it is not known how soon
Microsoft will release version 3.0 of its IrDA LAN driver, the beta
development kit is already available to download from their web
site. If one were considering using this technology today it is a
simple matter of finding which laptops are compatible with the
preferred access point.

Diffuse Infrared Technology

Diffuse infrared technology operates by flooding an area with infrared
light, in much the same way as a conventional light bulb illuminates a
room. The infrared signal bounces off the walls and ceiling so that a
receiver can pick up the signal regardless of orientation. Diffuse infrared
technology is a compromise between direct infrared and radio technology.
It combines the advantages of high data rates from infrared and the
freedom of movement from radio. However, even though its speed is up to
4Mbits/s, but it is shared among all the users, unlike direct
infrared. Although people can enjoy its speed and its mobility, but it is
restricted within a certain range, such as a room. It doesnt go through a
How does it work?? We just simply connect a hub that made for the
infrared with a wired LAN in a room. It will then create infrared signals
and flood them in the room.
Diffuse infrared technology has begun to establish itself as a real
alternative to radio in wireless LAN systems. However, lack of
movement towards this technology by the large networking
manufacturers (IBM for example recently abandoned it's diffuse
infrared product) has meant very few systems are commercially
available. Those, which do exist, do not show the refinement of the
radio systems produced by the large manufactures. Despite these
initial problems, the technology has the potential to provide very
high data rates and good coverage for most applications.